It's amazing how you'll learn different things about yourself while in different mental states. Some of you may know that I picked up a camera for the first time as part of my therapy to fight depression and anxiety. For me, film making and visual effects was both to have something that was mine, and also to find a creative way to explore my own thoughts and feelings.
Now that I'm in a similar situation, fighting anxiety and depression, I find myself asking questions that can be quite revealing as I do my best to make my way back to a sense of normalcy. Here are a few things that have come up:
Where do you go when you're hurting?
One of the things that people suffering from depression will do is relive situations or events that bring them down, constantly dissecting what they did, and beating themselves up for it. I find myself going back to mistakes I make years ago (that may or may not actually be mistakes, but in my mind, they certainly are.) I've been told that depression has to do with feelings of loss, which makes sense when you think of mistakes you've made in the past, especially if those mistakes involve other people.
Where do you go when you're scared?
On the other side of the same coin, where depression has to do with feelings of loss, anxiety has to do with the fear of losing something. What it is may not matter, and it's possible you never had the object you're afraid of losing in the first place. But again, your mind may not know the difference.
Where do you go to hide?
Finding solace can be especially difficult. There will always be those that say, "just be happy", as if depression is a switch that can be turned on or off, and maybe for some, it is. For the rest of us, we find little ways to find momentary peace. I've found that forcing myself into my work has been positive, as there would be less room for darker thoughts to creep in. Being at home, things aren't so easy. At first, it was sleep that would help, most of the time, and that would be only when I would be able to find sleep. I started taking sleeping pills, which knocked me out, but I would find myself awake around 3 or 4 am. Not wanting to wake my wife, I'd be alone with my thoughts until my alarm rang at 6:30am.
Next, was alcohol. I'm not a big drinker by any means, but I found that I was partial to whisky. Numbing my mind to the point where, believe it or not, it was quiet enough from the darker thoughts that I could actually think a bit more rationally helped. When I drank more, I went from rational to apathetic, which was preferable to thinking about my issues at all.
So What Does This All Mean?
Honestly, at this point, I have no idea. I'm still in the thick of it. But it's important to recognize patterns for what they are. Recognize why your mind might go back to a memory that isn't pleasant. It may not be the case that the memory is important, but the reason you're going there is. Or, recognizing how you're hiding, what your coping mechanisms are, and what that tells you.
Like I said, I'm still trying to figure this all out, but at the very least, I'm learning more about who I am as a person while I do so.